Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz Biography

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz (born 10 September 1939) is an American academic, educator, feminist activist, and writer.

Born in San Antonio, Texas, Dunbar-Ortiz may have some American Indian background. She spent most of her youth growing up in the rural community of Piedmont, Oklahoma. Dunbar-Ortiz's grandfather was an organizer for the Industrial Workers of the World, and for the Oklahoma Socialist Party during its brief era of success, between the beginning of statehood in 1907 and its repression following the Green Corn Rebellion of 1917.

She earned her Ph.D in History from UCLA in 1974. In the 1960s and 1970s, she was active in the anti-Vietnam War and radical left movements and worked closely with the SDS, the Weather Underground, and the African National Congress. She was also very active in the women's rights movement, and from 1968–1970 was a leading figure, along with Maureen Maynes, Dana Densmore and Betsy Warrior, in the radical feminist group, Cell 16.

In 1977, she and Jimmie Durham organised the Conference on Indians in the Americas in Geneva.

In addition to many scholarly books and articles, she has published three memoirs, Red Dirt: Growing Up Okie (1997); Outlaw Woman: A Memoir of the War Years, 1960–1975 (2002); and Blood on the Border (2005). Outlaw Woman won recognition from the Organization of American Historians as a 2003 finalist for the Liberty Legacy Foundation Award in the field of American civil rights struggles. Blood on the Border is about what she saw during the Nicaraguan Contra war against the Sandinistas in the 1980s. Her writing has also appeared in Monthly Review and The Nation, and on the CounterPunch website.

She is presently Professor Emerita of Ethnic Studies at California State University, Hayward.